When I told friends I was going to Disneyland for work, I got a few raised eyebrows. Work? At Disneyland? My friends were skeptical. Disneyland doesn’t exactly seem like a “work” venue, does it? I mean can you really work at Disney? I would think that going to work at a Disney park each day would seem like play rather than work. But, I’m here to tell you that I did work when I was at Disneyland and by golly I worked hard!
I was invited to a conference that has been on my bucket list or a long time. The last four years, I have followed the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration from the outside looking in. Foraged for tweets. Stalked the hashtag. Retweeted. Lived vicariously through bloggers who got to do. Never did I think I would get one of the coveted invites. I was the puppy dog drooling over the meat in the butcher’s shop window. I was green with envy…green I tell you. And then it happened after wishing on a star forever, I got the golden ticket. The golden ticket to the 5th Annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Wow! I was one happy person heading to the happiest place on earth. And of course I was super psyched to bring my family a long for the trip. That’s where the business part intersected with the pleasure part. Win!
The “real” focus of the trip was for me to attend #DisneySMMoms, but Disney being Disney wanted to make the trip a family affair. Each conference pass included three nights at the Disneyland Hotel, four Park Hopper passes to Disneyland and California Adventure, meals, and activities for the attendee only or the attendee and family. The conference pass was for the attendee and three people, so all I needed to do was add an extra person on to my conference pass (there was an additional charge and I needed to buy another Park Hopper Pass for my oldest daughter).
With conference pass in hand and an extra night booked at the Disneyland Hotel, my husband — @DadKnowsBetter — worked his magic to get us the cheapest possible flights on Southwest. A long with the conference sessions, this conference was a winner in my book as I could combine family fun with work. The kids had to miss a day or two of school as the conference didn’t coincide with Spring Break, but each kid had a packet of work to complete while on the trip so that they didn’t get too far behind.
I wondered how I would manage the “Fun” with the “Work” especially having my family with me at Disneyland. I don’t like missing out on fun…ever. Turns out that talking about the trip with my husband and kids BEFORE the trip was the right idea. We talked ahead of time about the conference, about what I would be doing in the sessions, about the time they would spend with their dad, and about the time we would all spend together.
My children are tweens and teens so it is nice to have grownup conversations with them. They “got” that there would be family dinners and family events. They “got” that I would have Conference Session while they went to the park with dad. I will talk in more detail about the conference sessions on Friday and Saturday in another post, but suffice it to say the content and take-away was well worth the price of the conference pass:
Thursday, April 10
- Opening Reception for Attendees sponsored by Coppertone
- Friday, April 11
- Maxine Clark, Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop
- Donald Driver, former Green Bay Packers player, former Super Bowl Champion, author of Quickie children’s book series
- Gary Buchanan, Disney Blogs
- Thomas Smith, Disney Parks Social Media Director
- Doug Bowman, Creative Director, Twitter
- Disney Social Media All-Stars, hosted by Erin Glover, Leslie Kay, Disney Bound, and Grumpy Cat
- and more
Saturday, April 12
- Genevieve Goings, Choo Choo Soul
- LeVar Burton, Reading Rainbow, Roots, and Star Trek: Next Generation
- David Arquette, voice of Skully (Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
- Ariel Winter, voice of Sofia (Sofia the First)
- Tim Gunn, voice of Baileywick (Sofia the First)
- Don Hahn, Producer, Maleficent
- Elle Fanning, Aurora, Maleficent
- Sabrina Carpenter, EP, “Can’t Blame a Girl for Trying,” Maya Hart on “Girl Meets World,”
The Family Events were amazing. I’ll write about the family events in more detail in another blog post, but until then here’s a rundown of what we experienced as a family at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration:
- Thursday Dinner at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to showcase Disney Try It healthy food options.
- Friday Night VIP seating — actually standing — but very close to the World of Color light and fireworks show at California Adventure. We had seen World of Color last time we were at Disneyland and it is a truly magical show.
- Saturday Morning Storytime and Give a Book, Get a Book launch with LeVar Burton, David Arquette, Ariel Winter, and Tim Gunn.
- Saturday Morning Screening Sneak Peek at Downtown Disney’s AMC Theater of Disney Nature Bears.
- Saturday Evening Dinner at Toon Town — Disney closed the Toon Town section of the park for us…I know I was surprised too! There was good food, music, and two rides — Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and Gadget’s Go Coaster — were open JUST for us. And as if this wasn’t enough we even had VIP access for the Matterhorn coaster.
- Saturday Night VIP seating for Remember…Dreams Come True Fireworks Spectacular at Disneyland — We opted out as we were all really, really tired, but we had seen the fireworks the night before so we didn’t miss out!
- Sunday Morning Breakfast at Carsland — The RunDisney Run ended in Carsland, but I’m not a runner so we opted to arrive at Carsland for the early morning access and breakfast. Getting a tween, two teens, and two sleepy parents out of bed before 7 a.m. was a challenge, but we were able to mobilize and get in to California Adventure for breakfast and VIP access to Radiator Springs Racers and the other two rides in Carlsland
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the DSMM Celebration. I paid my own conference fees and received gifts during the conference. All opinions, experiences, and thoughts are my own.